The media is everywhere in our lives. From billboards to SMS text messaging on cell phones, we cannot escape the media and its impact on daily life. Of the many impacts, television violence and the influence it has on youth is one of the most debated topics.
Many experts, including some from the University of California, Santa Barbra, say that the amount and type of violence viewed results in violent actions performed by youth of all ages and violence continually affects them throughout their lives. Others are more skeptical and argue that the media is not the sole cause of youth violence; they believe that there are many other factors that contribute to the violent behaviors of youth.
They see the condition more as a mixture of different situations that cause violence in youth, violence on television being just one of the factors. However, both sides of the argument understand that each individual is a separate situation and reacts differently to the violence portrayed. This essay will inform the reader of the claims both sides formulate to defend their argument and allow the reader to determine their own conclusion.
Many studies over the past seven years have sought to prove that television and the violence portrayed does have a direct influence on youth and how they will deal with situations in real life. Out of the many studies, one of the most concrete and convincing is the National Television Violence Study (or NTVS) conducted by University of California Santa Barbra, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Texas at Austin and the University of Wisconsin Madison. This study observes not only the response of youth to various types of content but also observed the response of the parents. Moreover, this study also explores different anti-violence public service announcements and their influence on youth. Over a three-year period this study observed over 1,600 individuals in five separate experiments.
From these observations and experiments, four major concerns were formed. The first concern is that “violence can have a number of adverse effects on children and even adults”. The second concern provides proof for the first by adding more detail. The NTVS states that from viewing violence for an amount of time, three types of harmful influences will develop in individuals. These harmful influences are “an increased fear of becoming victimized by violence”, “desensitization to violence” and “learning aggressive attitudes and behaviors”. The NTVS later explains that individuals react to the violent images on television differently. These different reactions, positive and negative, are caused by the way in which the violence is portrayed. There are nine different portrayals of violence on television categorized by the NTVS. The negative reactions are caused by an “attractive perpetrator, attractive victim, justified violence, use of conventional weapons, realistic violence, rewards for...